Are all Carpet Cleaners the same?

Confused why Carpet Cleaners appear to all offer the same service but charge very different prices?


confused carpet cleaniingIf Carpet Cleaners were wrist-watches, some would be a cheap-and-cheerful Timex and others a top-end Rolex. In short, Carpet Cleaners don’t all provide the same quality of service or deliver comparable results! 

So before you leap straight for the cheapest option, first you might like to think about the consequences: why are they so cheap and can they really deliver the deep down quality of clean you’re looking for?

Would you want to trust someone untrained with a second hand machine off Ebay to go near your expensive carpets – however cheap they come?


So before you decide how much to spend on your carpet cleaner you might like to first consider: 

        • how much your carpets are worth
        • how long ago your carpets were last cleaned
        • how badly you want them to be genuinely clean and fresh
        • how will you feel if you choose to save money but are ultimately disappointed with the results?

Cost is inevitably going to be a factor – but is it really a good idea to have your whole house of carpets worth £many thousands cleaned for £49 by some bloke from Facebook? How good is a £7 per carpet clean going to be and what nasty damaging chemicals will they spray and what ‘extras’ might you need to pay for once they’re inside your house? Who knows?

OK, so with Carpet Cleaners you always get the quality of service you pay for right?

Probably, but not necessarily! If you decide to risk paying £49 to have your 7 room house cleaned, it should come as no big surprise if you’re left with wet, smelly carpets that look (and smell) worse than before.

But you could also spend £250 on this same job with a seemingly ‘Professional’ Carpet Cleaner who might turn up wearing jeans, wielding a worn out RugDoctor® borrowed from a hire shop! On the other hand you could be greeted by an experienced, uniformed, Carpet Technician with over £14,000 worth of  Hot Water Extraction kit in tow- but how can you find out before they arrive!

Ask the right questions before you shell out your hard earned cash!


If you want to be sure you get what you’re paying for, you need to find out what method your prospective carpet cleaner proposes to use. So first, you need to understand all the popular carpet cleaning methods so you can evaluate whether each cleaner will deliver the best value in your situation.

The 5 Most used Professional Carpet Cleaning methods:


Carpet Shampooing (2-3/10)

Without doubt the cheapest but also least effective method. Detergents are applied to the carpet or rug and agitated with a brush or machine. Some shampoo is then sucked from the carpet with a vacuum cleaner leaving the carpet looking superficially nice and smelling better, but much of the dirt and microbes stay in the carpet and later reappear.

Good for: Cheap and quick jobs that might look better – for a while!

DrawbacksDoesn’t clean very well and often attracts more dirt to look worse than before within weeks


Dry cleaning (8/10 for regular cleaning)

By far the gentlest option for delicate materials and often convenient because there is no need to wait for the carpets to dry. The carpet is covered with a special cleaning powder that attracts dirt like a magnet. Once the powder is worked into the carpet, it is then thoroughly vacuumed away with an industrial vacuum.

Good for: Gentle and quick with zero drying time: great for regular maintenance cleans and ideal for very sensitive natural fibres such as silk or wool

Drawbacks: Expensive and not really effective for even averagely soiled carpets

Foam cleaning (4/10)

A cross between shampooing and dry cleaning using a foamed detergent which attracts and adheres to the soil. The foam is worked into the carpet then vacuumed, extracting most of the water, detergent, and dirt.

Good for: Saving a couple of quid from a proper hot water clean and with marginally shorter drying times

DrawbacksAn undoubtedly compromised clean with minimal cost advantages

‘Bonnet buff’ (5-8/10 in commercial environments)

The name ‘buff’ says it all: A mechanical rotary cleaner with heavy detergents arguably only suitable for commercial tile flooring. It restores the surface appearance of industrial carpeting rather than providing proper deep cleaning and can damage the softer, deeper fibres of home carpets.

Good for: Cheap and quick for large offices with cheap  tiles

Drawbacks: Superficial surface clean on deeper domestic pile carpets relying on potentially damaging mechanical abrasion

Portable pressure washing (7/10)

A heavy wheeled unit that get brought into your home plugged into your water and electricity supplies to inject hot tap temperature water and detergent into the carpet before extracting with a vacuum pump providing a good quality of clean.

Good for: Perhaps the best option for those on a budget who actually expect their carpet to look cleaner. Luke warm water means a reasonable quality clean for a good price though not suitable for silk rugs.

Drawbacks: Very noisy indoors, time consuming, can require strong chemicals. Can leave carpets wet, take days to dry and smelling like wet dog.

‘Truck-mounted’ Steam cleaning (10/10)

More accurately ‘Hot Water Extraction’ uses very hot (85+degrees), high pressure, soapy water injected into the carpet fibres and instantly extracted by a super-powerful vacuum. Totally self-contained driven by its own integral engine; ‘van-mounts’ are unquestionably the most effective and convenient method of carpet cleaning – removing as much of the soil and microbes from deep inside the fibres and the super-high heat and massive suction means carpets are left 90% dry!

Good for: The premium clean without question. Inevitably more expensive but betterquicker and more customer convenient than a portable machine. Super-hot water cleans without harsh chemicals giving the deepest and most sanitising clean for pretty much everything other than silk rugs. Noise remains outside the building. Drawbacks: A bit more expensive and takes an hour or so to dry.

The best Carpet Cleaners use proper ‘Truck Mount Hot Water Extraction’ 


Have you ever tried washing the dishes with cold water? If so, you’ll understand how Hot Water Extraction is the only fully effective option worth considering for a thorough clean at a reasonable price. Unless you happen to have had your carpets properly cleaned in the last year, none of the other options provide a suitably deep clean and could potentially make matters worse by dragging hidden dirt back up to the surface.

If however, you do happen to have had your carpets cleaned recently or have very fine silk rugs, by far the gentlest option is the ‘dry’ cleaning method that requires no possibility of water damage. Any of the other methods is a compromise that’s hard to justify in regard to cost/end result 


Carpet cleaning really isn’t rocket science but there are things that can go very badly wrong when the operator doesn’t know what they’re doing. Many so called ‘professional’ carpet cleaners have no training whatsoever and are essentially ‘winging’ it every time they get their equipment out.

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the very same ‘professional’ not prepared to invest in training, also seldom invest in the best equipment – and cheap equipment and no training is potentially a recipe for disaster! This means the operator is tempted to use too much water or too strong chemicals in the pursuit of an acceptable finish that can ruin a carpet forever – not good however cheap the price!

Ask your Carpet Cleaner about their experience: how long have they been operating; what training have they had and always ask for testimonials of previous clients.


Good luck with finding your carpet cleaner in Bicester, Oxford, Banbury and Witney areas of Oxfordshire